The first week of October has been and gone and my initial thoughts are brrr! I don’t know if anyone else is with me on this one but it seems as though closing the door on September has ultimately closed the door on summer and has opened a Pandora’s Box of wind, rain, greyness and chills (except for that one day of sunshine so far!). Despite the cooling temperatures and what appears to be incessant dampness, October, or speaking seasonally, autumn has to be one of my favourites.

For as the clocks go back and the nights draw in and we awake to crisp cold mornings that often bring autumnal mist, we can look forward to breathtaking fiery hues that are put simply, a stunning seasonal delight. The skies will play host to dazzling displays of starling murmuration and will also bear witness to the annual return of millions of birds and ducks that are escaping harsher winters from countries as far afield as the Arctic. For birds such as fieldfares, redwings, geese and swans, food is easier to find in the UK and as autumn is the season of plenty, there will be an abundance of fruits, nuts and seeds for birds and animals to help them build up their fat reserves ready for hibernation, migration or the forthcoming winter.

Speaking of fuel for the cold months ahead, what seasonal foods do we (as humans) have to look forward to? Autumn is about juicy pears, crisp apples and delicious veggies like butternut squash, kale and brussel sprouts that are packed full of vitamin C to help fight off those wretched winter coughs and colds. Seasonal meats and game include goose, duck, venison and rabbit; for those fish and seafood lovers, mackerel, mussels and crab are a must. Don’t forget that foods are sold cheaper when there’s a glut, so take advantage of this season’s foods and whip up some tasty delights.

There are so many scrummy autumn recipes that will boost your immune system whilst keeping you satisfied as the dreaded dark nights descend like cheesy autumn mushrooms, simple squash risotto, tasty Thai pumpkin soup and yummy pear and blackberry crumbles. For those wanting something a little bit special, try Antonio Carluccio’s mouth-watering Mushroom crostini starter, followed by Silvena Rowe’s delighful Pomegranate glazed duck with bulgar, chickpea and pomegranate pilaf, and to finish, Antony Worrall Thompson’s perfect Pumpkin pie; delicious!! Well that’s my next dinner party sorted!!